New Study finds one third of small businesses putting COVID restrictions back in place

The study, conducted by business loan firm Kabbage, found several reasons why the restrictions were being put in place again.

Monday, October 11th 2021 in Economy by Rachel Blakely
New Study finds one third of small businesses putting COVID restrictions back in place

A third of small-business proprietors across the U.S. have voluntarily reinstated restrictions on the spread of the disease during the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, the latest data indicate.

This is a significant shift from May in which the majority of small-scale businesses were open for business with fewer infections and regulations imposed by the government for firms were lifted. However, by the end of August, that number had fallen to 63% according to the study conducted by Kabbage Small Business, a lender that is owned by American Express.

The most common safety measures that employers have reinstated, in light of the Delta variation spread, are the limits on capacity of customers and the requirement that workers as well as patrons are vaccinated.

However, these steps could create tensions for businesses, said Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, who spoke about this over the weekend to CBS MoneyWatch.

"Businesses want someone other than them to make a decision on this. For a company it's difficult to put in place limitations and not be the only person to suggest that people do something that they don't wish to," she said. "More government and state-level regulations have boosted and strengthened the desire of business owners to safeguard their employees, themselves and their customers."

Between July and August Kabbage interviewed 550 small business managers from healthcare, retail and financial services, as well as technology, food, and other industries. About 35% of small-scale business owners stated they'd need the proof of vaccination of customers who want to remove their masks.

However, owners of the smallest companies -ones with less than 20 employees were less likely to adhere to and enforce this requirement, likely to avoid conflicts with clients or the additional expense of having to require the vaccination by their employees.

"Smaller companies are the most vulnerable and have lower expectations that employees and customers will be vaccinated , as restrictions aren't easy to enforce," Petralia said.

Over a year and a quarter into the pandemic another issue that is a constant for small companies is finding workers. About a third of small business owners report having trouble filling vacant positions, up from 28 percent in May, the research firm Kabbage discovered.

Some business owners have said it's difficult to ramp back up due to the fact that they also must care for family members, such as the youngest children as well as their parents.

"Smaller businesses are still struggling. This is the story of two recovery periods that have businesses in good sectors and geographical areas doing better than other industries," Petralia said

About the Author

Rachel Blakely

Rachel Blakely-Gray is a content writer at Patriot Software, LLC. Patriot Software offers online accounting and payroll software for small business owners. At Patriot, she enjoys providing actionable, growth-oriented information for small business owners.

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